AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is ready to throw down, now that he's got his boys on his back.  (Source:
Eight large tech companies and 10 venture capital firms write support letters to FCC

Until now, AT&T's planned takeover of T-Mobile for $39 billion has made more headlines for its opponents than its supporters. Sprint came out in full force against the measure, saying it would create a de facto duopoly in mobile landscape between Verizon and AT&T (who would boast most of the country's mobile customers). The deal went before Congress, where staffers pointed to the concerns over loss of competition and jobs if the merger were to be completed.

Now, a number of high-profile technology companies and venture capital firms have come out in support of the merger, The New York Times reports. Eight technology giants — including Facebook, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Yahoo, Oracle, and Research in Motion — and 10 venture capital firms filed letters of support with the Federal Communications Commission on Monday, saying the merger would provide better access to mobile data for more people across the country.

According to the report, Microsoft approached a "select few" technology companies on behalf of the merger, asking for their support in the form of a letter. Microsoft’s VP for United States Government Affairs Fred Humphries told NYT that the company received "quick and positive replies."

A few excerpts from the Microsoft-penned letter:
Consumer demand for wireless broadband is dramatically increasing and our wireless networks are struggling to keep pace with the demand. Given the network capacity challenges, policymakers must givemeaningful consideration to AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile as a means of addressing their nearterm wireless broadband capacity needs.
AT&T’s acquisition of T-Mobile represents a near term means of addressing the rising consumer demand. For example, the merged company will be able to leverage a larger network of cell sites allowing greater reuse of spectrum and increasing the wireless broadband capacity of the network.
"The lack of adequate spectrum is killing the quality of users’ experience," Promod Haque, a managing partner of Norwest Venture Partners, told NYT. "Customers say, ‘I can’t even get a phone call and can’t get adequate reception. So you want me to use this new service?’" The merger would be easier and more cost-effective than the alternatives for improving spectrum, he said.

While the letter was written to the FCC, that is just one regulatory body that the merger must gain approval from in order for the deal to come to fruition; it must also be approved by the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice.

"This is about the Internet.  Everything on the Internet is encrypted. This is not a BlackBerry-only issue. If they can't deal with the Internet, they should shut it off." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
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